Date set for public inquiry that will seal fate of Penwortham’s Sumpter Horse

UNDER THREAT: Marilyn McDonald at the Sumpter Horse, which could be bulldozed
UNDER THREAT: Marilyn McDonald at the Sumpter Horse, which could be bulldozed
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A public inquiry will take place in January over plans to demolish a pub to make way for a new road.

Bovis Homes appealed to the Planning Inspectorate after South Ribble Council refused permission for access to a new development at Vernon Carus Mill site off Leyland Road, Penwortham.

The house builder had wanted a roundabout or priority junction involving the demolition of The Sumpter Horse pub, which it owns.

But it was thrown out on grounds the layout would have had a negative impact on the road network.

Officers wanted access through a new Cross Borough Link Road off The Cawsey, but this has been delayed and Bovis Homes have since been negotiating with Lancashire County Council over alternatives.

A final decision will be made by the Planning Inspectorate who will host a meeting from 10am on January 10 at the Civic Centre, West Paddock, Leyland.

Landlady Marilyn McDonald, 67, is urging people to attend.

She said she was heartbroken by the news, which means she could lose her livelihood and home just months after being widowed.

She said: “I had four letters from South Ribble about it, out of the blue.

“I was under no illusion this might happen, but feel let down Bovis Homes couldn’t even ring me.

“I face losing my home, my job and five staff members could lose their jobs.

“Since Pete died this place and the customers have kept me going. It’s not just a pub, it’s a community.

“I wasn’t looking forward to this first Christmas on my own, and now there’s this.”

A spokesman for Bovis Homes said: “We have submitted our proofs of evidence to support our case to the Planning Inquiry, including inputs from our planning, highways and ecological consultants.”

The deal also means that Bovis will pass ownership of the Vernon Carus Sports and Social Club to members along with a sum of money, securing its future.

There will also be a new multi-use games area.